Six on Saturday: Christmas Comes Late

Back in December, I ordered three shrubs to add to the winter interest in the garden, including Camellia ‘Yuletide’, a replacement for a small potted specimen that had turned up its toes:  two came within a few days, unlike Yuletide which did not arrive until this week. I wasn’t troubled by the delay itself because new regulations for Plant Passports have caused all sorts of delays for nurseries, but unusually there was no communication about the long delay and even my email query a month ago produced a minimal response. It’s not a nursery I have used before and opted for it purely for this plant, a good-sized specimen at a reasonable price, but I am unlikely to use it again and shan’t be recommending it. Fortunately it arrived in good condition, surprisingly still in bloom, although without any paperwork or planting instructions.

A mild week meant planting was achieved the day after arrival, and it was one of those late-winter-but-with-spring-in-sight days when one task leads quickly into another – camellia planting to epimedium leaf trimming to snowdop splitting to digging out more bluebell and wild garlic to tidying up herbaceous perennials and so on until it was a well-deserved cup of tea and cake time. The progress of the garden in just a week is remarkable – last week I was digging out those stray bulbs in the woodland, unable to determine which were bluebells and which were wild garlic…today it was patently obvious:

These are wild garlic:

And these are bluebells – and fritillary too, the latter with flower buds evident. Dislodging the leaf litter also showed the first signs of wood anemones pushing their way through – none of these were evident even a week ago!

Both common and special snowdrops are showing their appreciation, reaching up on tiptoes as they welcome the warmer days, bobbing their heads about as they discuss the finer things in life:

I was going to show you this curiosity amongst my special snowdrops, three flower buds emerging from one bulb (Cowhouse Green), but those few days delay and the lengthened  stems have reduced the impact, and in fact two of the three stems are now fused together, a curiosity in itself but impossible to see in this photo!

Instead, perhaps one of our galanthophile readers can help with a query that has stumped both Anna of Green Tapestry and myself. What was meant to be ‘Faringdon Double’ has shown 6 poculiform white outer petals, with inner segments having two tiny dark green marks at the apex and two tiny lighter marks at the base. These photos were taken a couple of weeks ago when the flowers were past their best and sadly I had not noticed the discrepancy before then – any suggestions anybody? I have searched my snowdrop books without success.

I talked last week about space in the greenhouse, and this week pricking out has begun, adding to the pressure of space. Again, thoese milder days have put a spring in the step of those seedlings…

Moving away from green and white, my last witch hazel is now coming into bloom; supposedly later to flower than the x intermedia varieties, Hamamelis vernalis ‘Amethyst’ has not usually flowered here at anything other than the same time as the others, but perhaps she is finally celebrating her different background. Pink, rather than the purple her name suggests, she makes a pretty contribution to the late winter garden:

That’s approximately six contributions to Jon the Propagator’s Saturday meme; please visit his blog to find more.

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24 Responses to Six on Saturday: Christmas Comes Late

  1. Ian Lumsden says:

    Snowdrops do change. I have pots of snowdrops of a single variety only to discover a different variety flowering of which I knew nothing about. Sadly they rarely improve on the originals.

    • Cathy says:

      Hmm, I had not heard that before Ian – what do you believe causes this, and is it a permanent mutation? I will be interested to see what appears next year! Incidentally, these are not in pots

  2. tonytomeo says:

    Hey, that is the Ozark witch hazel! We grew garden varieties of Hamamelis for a while, but discontinued them because of limited demand. When I got my common witch hazel, I actually needed to order it online. It is simply unavailable here. Once the common witch hazel gets established, I might add Ozark witch hazel, preferably the straight species rather than a cultivar. I like the garden varieties also, particularly for their foliar color in autumn, but probably will not add them to my garden.

  3. Oh, some cheerful signs of spring in your garden! I’m glad your shipped Camelia is in good shape. The color of the blooms is beautiful. I have only a few types of snowdrops in my garden, but I love them all.

    • Cathy says:

      It is such an exciting time of year in the garden, Beth, as so many changes have been triggered and there are new discoveries to be made every day

  4. Anna says:

    Your camellia looks a happy specimen but a lack of response from a seller to an enquiry whatever you have bought certainly doesn’t encourage you to return in the future. I only wish that my FD had still been in peak flowering time to have been able to compare photos at the time you asked. Ian’s comment spot on – I’ve found odd goings on especially in pots before now. Have only just switched my heated sand bench on today to start sowing so it will be a while before I’m pricking out 😂

    • Cathy says:

      Such odd goings-on are news to me, Anna, and if these are a ‘new’ variety it is a very pretty one – I like poculiform snowdrops! Have fun with your sowing!

  5. rusty duck says:

    ‘Yuletide’ looks very healthy, which at least partially makes up for the wait.
    Isn’t it amazing the difference a week makes? If the forecast is right this should be another good week for growth. Long may it continue.

    • Cathy says:

      It just seemed odd that they would be discounting a product by 25% that they don’t actually have in stock – I half expected not to get it at all so I am very pleased to have it!

  6. The long-awaited camellia “Yuletide” has finally arrived in good condition and still with flowers: and it is already planted, I love it. Like last week, you have returned to dig the bulbs of bluebells and wild garlic, but now they clearly differentiate who is who: I like it very much. All your common and special snowdrops are upright and divine, I love them. Your special Bellflower bulb that has fused two of the three stems and produced three flower buds is a wonder of Nature, I love it as does the “Faringdon Double” with six petals. Cathy is already starting to lack room in the Greenhouse because of the large number of seedlings: I love it. The witch hazel that is now blooming has a divine pink color, I love it, it will give a lot of color to the garden: Cathy enjoys its flowering. Take good care of yourself and the golfer, and keep yourself safe. Happy Sunday. Very affectionate greetings from Margarita.

    • Cathy says:

      This can be a lovely time of year in a British garden, Margarita, and yet we could easily have another cold spell…doesn’t feel like it at the moment though!

      • Cathy of course there can be a cold snap, and more than one. We have been with one for the weekend and today Monday it is cold and it has snowed in the Mountains. And by Wednesday the temperatures rise again. As long as they do not harm the plants. Warm regards from Margarita.

  7. Noelle M says:

    You snowdrop bed is amazing Cathy. Maybe you could post a picture on the HPS site and see what members of the Galanthophile section think. Those seedlings will soon bulk out.

    • Cathy says:

      I was reading the current HPS magazine today and realise there is a Galanthophile section within it, so guess it would be worth joining. I have learned from comments that sometimes snowdrops can ‘change’, although not yet why that would be so. Blogs are a great source of information, aren’t they?!

  8. Ian Lumsden says:

    It takes three years for seedlings to flower. I suspect that’s the explanation. It could of course be that I have reused compost, something I’m prone to do being mean.

    • Cathy says:

      Ah, I see, so you think they might have grown from seedlings? That’s logical – this small clump came to me in 2019 but I can’t be sure if flowers were true to form last year or not…they clearly can’t have stood out as being different. All very intriguing! Thanks Ian

  9. Cathy says:

    I wish I could throw light on the snowdrop issue – lack of knowledge means I’m here to learn, rather than comment (but you still can’t shut me up!!) ‘Yuletide’ looks lovely – and so glad you finally received it. Was the delay due to it coming from Europe, do you think? So much in the gardener’s world has been muddled up this spring … and we won’t even think about the ‘real’ world outside the garden.

    • Cathy says:

      I think we can all learn from each other, whatever our level of experience. No idea where Yuletide came from – there was a distinct lack of information, but that would be probable…so why couldn’t they just tell me there was an unavoidable delay? In the big scheme of things it doesn’t really matter, though, and the two that came before Christmas (from a different nursery) didn’t get planted till the same time anyway!!

  10. Diana Studer says:

    A bonus seedling from the original nursery? Or a new variety from 2 in your garden? Picking thru each season’s new seedlings, is one way for nurseries to find new varieties. Perhaps this one will be Yours!

    • Cathy says:

      They came from a blogging friend, and she will check hers next year to see what flowers they have. I have found another oddity this week, but need to check if it could be a variety I thought had been lost from a previous year…I would be pleased to have a ‘new’ variety, one I could give a name too, perhaps…

  11. Pádraig says:

    Pricking ou seedlings does lead to space problems… But isn’t it a good problem to have? That looks like bubble wrap behind…. Very sensible indeed!

    • Cathy says:

      Oh, definitely a good problem, Padraig – and it is so exciting to see how quickly seedlings respond! And yes, I bubble wrap the greenhouse perhaps in November and will probably take it off sometime next March – it is not the more expensive horticultural grade but usually lasts a few years and presumably does make a difference

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